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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 71(6): 206-211, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687588


Genomic surveillance is a critical tool for tracking emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), which can exhibit characteristics that potentially affect public health and clinical interventions, including increased transmissibility, illness severity, and capacity for immune escape. During June 2021-January 2022, CDC expanded genomic surveillance data sources to incorporate sequence data from public repositories to produce weighted estimates of variant proportions at the jurisdiction level and refined analytic methods to enhance the timeliness and accuracy of national and regional variant proportion estimates. These changes also allowed for more comprehensive variant proportion estimation at the jurisdictional level (i.e., U.S. state, district, territory, and freely associated state). The data in this report are a summary of findings of recent proportions of circulating variants that are updated weekly on CDC's COVID Data Tracker website to enable timely public health action.† The SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY sublineages) variant rose from 1% to >50% of viral lineages circulating nationally during 8 weeks, from May 1-June 26, 2021. Delta-associated infections remained predominant until being rapidly overtaken by infections associated with the Omicron (B.1.1.529 and BA sublineages) variant in December 2021, when Omicron increased from 1% to >50% of circulating viral lineages during a 2-week period. As of the week ending January 22, 2022, Omicron was estimated to account for 99.2% (95% CI = 99.0%-99.5%) of SARS-CoV-2 infections nationwide, and Delta for 0.7% (95% CI = 0.5%-1.0%). The dynamic landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants in 2021, including Delta- and Omicron-driven resurgences of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across the United States, underscores the importance of robust genomic surveillance efforts to inform public health planning and practice.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. , Genomics , Humans , Prevalence , Public Health Surveillance/methods , United States/epidemiology
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260487, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581781


At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designed, manufactured, and distributed the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel for SARS-CoV-2 detection. The diagnostic panel targeted three viral nucleocapsid gene loci (N1, N2, and N3 primers and probes) to maximize sensitivity and to provide redundancy for virus detection if mutations occurred. After the first distribution of the diagnostic panel, state public health laboratories reported fluorescent signal in the absence of viral template (false-positive reactivity) for the N3 component and to a lesser extent for N1. This report describes the findings of an internal investigation conducted by the CDC to identify the cause(s) of the N1 and N3 false-positive reactivity. For N1, results demonstrate that contamination with a synthetic template, that occurred while the "bulk" manufactured materials were located in a research lab for quality assessment, was the cause of false reactivity in the first lot. Base pairing between the 3' end of the N3 probe and the 3' end of the N3 reverse primer led to amplification of duplex and larger molecules resulting in false reactivity in the N3 assay component. We conclude that flaws in both assay design and handling of the "bulk" material, caused the problems with the first lot of the 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. In addition, within this study, we found that the age of the examined diagnostic panel reagents increases the frequency of false positive results for N3. We discuss these findings in the context of improvements to quality control, quality assurance, and assay validation practices that have since been improved at the CDC.

COVID-19 , DNA Primers , False Positive Reactions , Humans , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2